Yevgeniy Shakhmatov: SSAU prepares aerospace professionals throughout the country
Domestic aerospace industry continues to grow despite the difficult economic conditions. Training skilled personnel is a key element of this development. Yevgeniy Shakhmatov, the Rector of Samara State Aerospace University (SSAU) told a reporter of the RIA "Novosti" about the things that the future creators of space technology are currently studying and how they can apply this knowledge in practice.
- Yevgeniy Vladimirovich, in 1960-80s your university was actively engaged in researches for the benefit of the domestic aerospace industry. Do you still develop these areas today?
- Yes, we have not ceased to do so. What's new in the development of aerospace activities? First of all, the creation of small spacecraft.
Now there are two small spacecraft "Aist" in orbit the creation of which, together with the staff of the Rocket and Space Centre "Progress" was attended by students, graduate students, research workers and professors of our University. SSAU has one of the data receiving centres, which carry out scientific experiments and analyse the obtained information.
Recently, together with the Rocket and Space Centre "Progress" we have created another small spacecraft for the Earth's remote sensing "Aist-2", which has a complete equipment for remote sensing in the optical, hyperspectral and radar bands and its launch is planned in the spring from the space launcher complex "Vostochniy".
This spacecraft is very modern; it is one of the best equipped devices in the world. If it confirms the best qualities in orbit, it will be replicated in the interest of the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and other departments of Russia.
In addition, we are conducting a variety of developments in other areas of science and technology related to creation of robotic devices, helicopters and so on.
- What are the objectives for the benefit of various departments, which you mentioned, can be solved by "Aist-2"?
- Resolution characteristics of "Aist-2" in the optical absorption are about 3 meters with a height of 500 km. It can monitor the flood, avalanching, rain or drought areas, defects on agricultural seeding, territorial development, including in conditions of high clouds and bad weather.
The device data access will be in the open mode, and not only the employees of the Rocket and Space Centre "Progress", but also the University staff and students will be able to receive the information from it.
- As far as I know, along with "Aist-2" another unit will fly into space - the first Russian university nanosatellite "SamSat-218". What it is?
- Nanosatellites are very topical area of aerospace technology. We create them in cooperation with foreign scientific organizations, in particular with Technical University of Berlin. This work provides an opportunity to prove them to students and young scientists who want to implement knowledge in the study of outer space.
A nanosatellite is a small cube 10 by 10 centimetres, in which there is a unit for studying various natural processes, as well as new devices and electronic devices in terms of space.
In the spring we plan to launch into space three such cubes connected together (they are ready to work) to test our latest technical solutions and learn how to control the position of nanosatellite, check its efficiency and the possibility of its further use in the group. We would like the satellites flying in different orbits, maintained communication with each other, and if one of them suddenly is out of order, the other would take over its functions and continued to work.
- Obviously, your satellites are called "students" because students take some part in their development. What is their contribution?
- Students take an active part in the creation of satellites: they invent, design, solder, test, of course, under the guidance of professors and associate professors. If you will come to our laboratories, you can see throughout undergraduate and graduate students, youth creative teams.
When the first satellites "Aist" have been made, we had the first such team -the Youth Design Bureau, it consisted by 70% of students, and by 30% - of young scientists. Naturally, they worked under the guidance of experienced professionals.
What are the benefits of such work? In fact both knowledge and training are out of the rules of educational institutions, there are the rules adopted in those industries. The youth is getting used to the labour discipline, to the drawing works procedure, preparation of construction and design documentation and conduction of test activity according to the company rules. They learn to be integrated into the production line.
- Your University is considered to be the base for training personnel for the space launcher complex Vostochniy, but you are in Samara and the complex in Amur Region, so far away from you. Does such a distance prevent you? Are there any plans in this regard connected with changes in the educational process organization?
- In Samara we traditionally prepare specialists for the whole country. Many of our graduates work in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, near Moscow, in different regions of Russia and even abroad. We also take part in the staff training for the space launcher complex Vostochniy.
Recently 15 pupils from Blagoveshchensk came to us; they have a plan to finish school and to come to study in our University. There is no aerospace university in their town, but there is Amur State University, and we agreed to cooperate with it in terms of staff training.
There may be different options: for example, students can be prepare fully in our areas of training, we can accept Bachelors to SSAU Master’s Program, or their students can be transferred into SSAU in the final courses of Bachelor’s Program, in order to specialize them in solving problems relevant to space launcher complex Vostochniy.
I do not think the distance a big obstacle. It’s better to train professionals it the place with well-functioning training system. However, this does not exclude the possibility that over time, perhaps, we will open a branch in Blagoveshchensk and we will prepare specialists directly where they are needed.